David R. Butler, Texas State University System regents’ professor of geography, served as an invited speaker at the 8th World Congress of the International Association of Landscape Ecology in Beijing, China.
Butler, invited by Zehao Shen, professor of ecology at Peking University, presented “Geomorphic influences at the alpine treeline ecotone in an era of climatic change.” While in Beijing, Butler also gave an invited presentation to students in the Peking University Department of Ecology on “Frontiers of zoogeomorphology in mountain environments.”
Butler’s specializations and research interests include geomorphology, biogeography, natural hazards, mountain environments and environmental change, and Glacier National Park in Montana.
Butler has also been named a distinguished affiliated scholar of the Laboratory of Dendrogeomorphology (the Dendrolab.Ch) at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He spent part of his fall 2010 developmental leave at the Dendrolab, collaborating with host Markus Stoffel and consulting with Stoffel’s doctoral students.
The Dendrolab.Ch is the world’s largest collection of scholars devoted to the study of the use of tree rings for reconstructing geomorphic process histories. While at the Dendrolab, Butler trained in the identification of traumatic resin ducts (TRD) in annual rings of conifers damaged by snow avalanches and landslides. He is applying this technique to a study of the history and magnitude of snow avalanches along U.S. Highway 2 in northwest Montana, where dangerous avalanches have a history of producing road closures and property damage.